The Indiana Department of Transportation “immediately” placed an employee on unpaid suspension after he sent a Black newspaper columnist a degrading email.
INDOT shared the news on social media Thursday.
Charles M. Blow is an op-ed writer for The New York Times. Yesterday on Facebook, he posted what was sent to him by David E. Brewer, the manager of external audit at INDOT, who responded to one of Blow’s articles.
“Did your surname come from you being a cocaine addict or just from the fact that your opinion BLOWS?” Brewer’s email began. “Perhaps you should take a few writing classes in the English language before writing again.”
The INDOT worker saved his biggest insult for last.
“Your grasp of the language makes your written opinion less trusted and perceived as coming from an ignorant person,” he concluded.
That day, Blow wrote an op-ed on the issues of youth deciding not to vote in the presidential election. But it isn’t clear in the email – which lacks a subject line – or in Blow’s message what opinion piece Brewer is referring to.
Still, the insults were damaging enough to cause the Times writer to share it on Facebook Thursday afternoon.
“So Indiana Department of Transportation, I received this from one of your officials, during office hours, USING HIS .GOV email address,” Blow wrote. “Shouldn’t David be working instead of shooting off nasty emails?”
Many users gave him their support.
Deborah Hadley pointed to racism as the issue behind the “incredibly stupid behavior.”
Dugee Onike praised Blow for using his clout to expose the sender and thought if Brewer lost his job, Donald Trump could hire him.
Peachy Jones blamed white supremacy.
“You hate so much you destroy your dam self,” she wrote.
Okey Umez thought Brewer should have “kept his trash talking to his mama’s basement.”
Four hours after Blow posted the “nasty” email, INDOT responded on Facebook.
“An email of this nature is an inappropriate use of INDOT resources,” the post read in part. “Further, the language used is unacceptable and does not reflect the values of INDOT.”
The organization is currently reviewing the situation.
Meanwhile, some supported Brewer’s unpaid suspension.
Deena Anderson said INDOT “did the right thing.”
Krissa Willett pushed for the company to “go ahead and fire him.”
But most commenters opposed it.
Tim McDowell thought the NYT “deserves every nasty email it gets.”
C.c. Regan called Blow a “pathetic cry baby” for sharing the email online.
Though James W. Harris wouldn’t “normally” feel this way, he didn’t want Brewer to be fired, causing family “hardship.”